Are you equal to your husband, Part 2 Submission
A few weeks back I wrote a post on equality in marriage. You can read it if you haven’t already. Are you Equal To Your Husband, Part 1, Equality.
Now on to part 2, Submission…
I’ve agonized over this post for a couple weeks. Mostly because I was afraid of the “what if’s?” What if my husband isn’t a believer? What if my husband is abusive? What if my husband is an addict? What if my husband ____? Do I still have to submit?
I began to pray. I felt the Lord leading me to go speak with my pastor before I finished writing this post.
That was a great plan because I had questions. I also had assumptions that I wanted to make sure were accurate.
My questions were related to the history of the time. I assume there was something about the section of scripture I was looking at that was for those during the time period, but I wasn’t sure.
Instructions for Christian Households
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Talking with my pastor, he confirmed that yes, there was something here that most people don’t really think about. Culture. In that culture is was the norm for wives to submit to their husbands. It was the way things were done. Wives had nothing else. The were considered inferior to men in the culture. They had to rely on their husbands to care for and provide for them.
The un-cultural thing here is what Paul says to the husbands. First he says in verse 21, “Submit to one another out of reverence”. Then he says, 25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. This is the part that SHOULD stand out to us as believers.
Paul is reminding wives to submit to their husbands, even though he is asking the husbands to submit to the wives as well. Paul wanted to make sure wives understood that this revolutionary idea wasn’t changing their role as wives. He was asking for a change in the reason why. He was asking the wives to submit because they “want to”, not because they have to. Paul was asking Christians to mutually submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. He was selfless and so should we be as well.
The interesting thing is when you look at the original Greek, the word submit isn’t even in verse 22. It says, “wives to your husbands”. The “submit” is implied because of verse 21. However, the Lord is asking for submission none the less. Husbands submit to your wives and wives submit to your husbands, in everything.
I think the reason we as wives have such a tough time with this is because of Genesis 3, after the fall, Eve is told by God she will desire her husbands position as leader. I touched on this in part 1. The thing we miss here is Gods original intent for marriage. It was intended as a beautiful partnership between man and woman. Two people working together in unity with God.
The main thing to take away from this section of the Word is that men and women are to submit to one another.
We are to work together like a well oiled machine. Not one over the other, but together as a partnership working toward a common goal. If we are serving each other, we have less time to be selfish.
Unfortunately, so often the Word of God is either misunderstood or taken out of context. Sin and selfishness come into play here and women are made to feel less than, if they have a strong personality. If they are natural born leaders and marry a man who isn’t. It’s easy for a woman like that to take charge and then made to feel as though she is not submitting to her husband.
The other thing that happens all to often is scripture is used against wives to submit sexually, with no regard to how the husband is treating her.
IF he isn’t loving her as Christ loves the church, giving himself up for her, then is asking her to submit her body to him, he is misunderstanding the Word. He is to submit to her and she to him.
There are other scriptures on sex that you could look up. If that is an issue in your marriage, I suggest you both sit down with a christian counselor to work on that part of your relationship.
I understand that there are marriages out there that are very difficult. The “what if’s” that I can’t answer. I pray you will seek christian counseling to work through those with wisdom.
I hope these 2 posts have given you a new understanding of your role in marriage. I have enjoyed digging into the original Greek, looking at these words by themselves and in context.
Please let me know if you have questions? Any comments are much appreciated as well.